EVERYONE knows NLEX coach Yeng Guiao has pinpointed the Rain or Shine players his Road Warriors must contain. So the Elasto Painters decided to throw in an unknown.
NLEX and Guiao will do battle with a Rain or Shine side that is unveiling a new import today in Richard Moss as it bids to keep its hopes alive in the PBA Governors Cup at the Astrodome.
Ginebra duels struggling Blackwater in the nightcap, with the Kings gunning for a fourth straight win that will move them alongside idle Meralco for third.
The twin-bill is the league’s last before taking a break for the All-Souls and All-Saints Days and both Blackwater and Rain or Shine sorely want momentum for their stretch run in the eliminations.
The Elite are out to snap a three-game slide and, like Rain or Shine, Phoenix Pulse and Alaska, keep their flickering hopes alive of gaining inclusion among the eight teams advancing to the quarterfinals.
“We have to compete for us to give ourselves a chance,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia, whose team tangles with San Miguel Beer on Nov. 9 before winding up the eliminations against Meralco on Nov. 17.
NLEX has no such problem. It has closed in on an outright quarterfinals seat via a 126-113 win over erstwhile unbeaten TNT last Friday.
Should the Road Warriors rack up a fourth straight win, they will book a ticket to the next round and tie the KaTropa at 7-1 but wrest top spot due to the winner-over-the-other rule.
That’s easier said than done, according to Guiao.
“You can’t look at Rain or Shine’s win-loss record and judge their abilities. They are a lot more than what their record says,” said Guiao.
“We have a long break after this game and it would be nice to reward ourselves with a tie for first place if we can carve out a win versus Rain or Shine,” added Guiao, whose team goes up next against Magnolia on Nov. 10.
Guiao also wants his charges to keep tabs on Rain or Shine’s backcourt, led by Rey Nambatac. “Their young guards are dangerous and more so when they mature,” he noted.
Nambatac sprained his ankle late in the E-Painters’ 89-98 loss to Ginebra last Saturday but is still expected to see action today.
A lot would also be expected of Ross, a former starter at Old Dominion who arrived last Sunday and is now Rain or Shine’s fourth import in the conference after Joel Wright, Kayel Locke and Kwame Alexander, who also got injured in the Ginebra game.
“We changed imports so we hope he will be able to adjust to the style of play here,” said Garcia. “Hopefully, he’ll give us energy and rebounds.”
After going undrafted in the 2015 NBA draft, the 27-year-old mostly plied his wares overseas, making stops in Norway, Bolivia, Australia, Luxembourg and China.